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Other than Mwanza, this instant-famous team had Ronald Mkandawire, John Kaira, Chota (Adrian), and Knight Mpundu and Fighton Simukonda (who would go on and embellish his CV with 12-time Premier League champions, Nkana FC, as a player and club coach as well as for country for that matter.

The rest of the starting 11 included Obed Bwalya, Boniface “Killer” Chanda, schoolboy international Roy Ntambo, (Kim) Musonda and Emmanuel Silungwe – the youngest of the 22 players on the pitch that October afternoon.

Their head-coach Kabaila, a veteran defender who plied his trade with Konkola Blades and later Ndola United, was aged 37. To obliterate any shadow of doubt from some doubting Thomasses, that Vitafoam may have coasted to the final by some fluke performance, they had beaten Rhokana United (Nkana Fc) 2-1 in the semi-final with the man they fondly called “Killer” netting both goals while the men from Wusakili had their consolation courtesy of Golden Kazika.

Mwanza’s Vitafoam, for the record, apart from missing from the penalty spot in the first half, had to come from a goal down to ultimately beat now Zambia’s winningest Premier League team whose head-coach at the time was Moses Simwala, a former Nkana and Zambia right-winger.

Having departed for Kabwe Warriors, Mwanza had his most successful club career at the Railway Ground (Godfrey Chitalu Stadium).

Having assumed the first-choice goalkeeper responsibility, Mwanza won a number of honours with the Kabwe side, with the biggest of these being the 1987 Premier League title under the tutelage of Chitalu (Godfrey). Warriors narrowly beat Power Dynamos to the title by a single point

 (34-33) that term, the very first and last time the men in blue and white would ever conquer the top-flight in its present-day format.

Sadly, in sharp contrast, Mwanza’s former team Vitafoam were relegated to the First Division that year for finishing second from the bottom alongside tail-enders and town-mates Zesco United.

Elsewhere, Mwanza was a vital cog of the Warriors’ teams that won the 1988 and 1992 Charity Shields.

In the former year, Mwanza’ Warriors beat Mutondo Stars 2-1 at Independence Stadium through Timothy Mwitwa and Christopher Kunda’s goals.

In the latter final, a stupendous-performing Mwanza was a huge help in sending Warriors victorious through a 3-0 score-line in a match played at Lusaka’s Woodlands Stadium with three different players scorers in Maybin M’gaiwa and the duo of fellow Gabon plane crash victims Mwitwa and Whiteson Changwe.

Of pregnant interest is the fact that, in the 1992 Charity Shield final, officiated by FIFA referee Willie Chikuka, of the starting 22 players on the pitch, 11 formed part of the 18 players and a coach who perished in the Gabon Air Disaster to bring the total tally to 12.

Those who lined up for winners, Warriors, and would one year later die in the plane crash of 1993 in Gabon, were Mwanza himself, defenders Changwe and Samuel Chomba, midfielder Gofrey Kangwa (who was a property of Moroccan side Olympique Casablanca at the time of the plane disaster), winger Mwitwa and forward Moses Masuwa. (Godfrey) Chitalu, Warriors head-coach, also perished alongside his six club players mentioned above.

And by some kind of mysterious fate, the three officials who presided over the 1992 Charity Shield final in February that year, have also passed on: referee Willie Chikuka and his two assistant referees, Stephen Ziwa and Kasi Kalande, father to former Zanaco FC and Zambia midfielder Kabamba kalande.

Elsewhere, Mwanza also won two BP Shell Challenge Cup (BP Top 8 Cup) with Warriors. He was in goal when Warriors decimated Red Arrows 6-1 at Independence Stadium in 1989 with hat-trick hero Mwitwa, brace-scorer Jolly Chambisha and Joseph Chilekwa being the other scorers on the big day for the former Vitafoam United goalie.

Joseph Musonda provided Arrows’ consolation goal.



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